Ann Marie Norton

SOUTH PORTLAND – Saturday, March 21, 2020, was World Down Syndrome Day, and southern Maine lost one of its dearest members. Ann Marie Norton, 63, passed away quietly at her home that day, surrounded by family.Ann was born on January 21, 1957, and lived her whole life at her home in South Portland. She was a special person from the beginning, and was loved by many people in her life. Her four surviving siblings are Kathleen Harder of Saco, James Norton and his wife Lona (Gove) of South Portland, Mary Ellis of South Portland, and Patrick Norton and his wife Diana Johnson of Freeport. Ann left five nephews, one niece, and nine grand nephews and nieces. She was predeceased by her parents, Rita E. (O’Connor) and Michael Norton, and two brothers-in-law, Leo A. Harder and Dana M. Ellis.Ann attended several schools and programs in South Portland, and spent happy times at home with family. She loved watching her soap operas and the movie Wizard of Oz. Ann also loved music (especially oldies!) and often broke out in song and her inimitable dance moves that no else could duplicate. After her parents passed, she remained in the house with her sister Mary and Mary’s husband, Dana Ellis. Ann joined The Pine Tree Society day program in Scarborough that year. She loved this program and attended for many years. She was loved by the staff and was an active participant in the Program’s kitchen, helping to cook, clean, and organize in her own special way. She took advantage of many opportunities at Pine Tree Society, making many friends, taking several day trips to sights in Southern Maine, participating in the Special Olympics, and attending Pine Tree Camp. She often went to dances and out to lunch, which was a favorite activity. She helped develop a food donation program for the Preble Street Shelter at Christmas, which was a big success. Ann’s long life spanned many changes in society’s views about the differently-abled, and she was her own advocate for her rights and the contributions she was able to make. She was often heard proclaiming, “It’s my right!” to clarify any question anyone had on the subject. At family gatherings on special occasions, Ann was always ready to give a toast.When Ann’s health began to decline, she stayed at home with her sister, Mary. They went everywhere together, and Ann especially enjoyed camping on Labor Day weekends with friends and family, sitting around the fire, going in the hot tub and having a hot toddy before bed.For the last nine years of her life, Ann was a faithful and devoted companion for Mary, remaining happy and lovable as she always had. In 2019, Mary helped complete Ann’s “bucket list” by taking her on a cruise of Casco Bay, on a ride on the narrow gauge railway, and on a day trip to North Conway, N.H. During the train ride, Ann won the hearts of the packed railroad car by announcing loudly, “All Aboard!” She had heard this for years from her father, who worked on the railroad all his life. A few years before, she also went to Disney World with Mary and Dana. She was always well-cared for by her family and by (Home) Hospice of Southern Maine, especially by frequent visitors Kieran, a CNA, and “Nurse Nancy.” She is deeply missed by her family, especially her four siblings, who consider her “the best of all of us.”Services are private. There will be a celebration of her life for family and friends on an appropriate date in the future. Arrangements are under the direction of the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home in South Portland. To view Ann’s memorial page or to share an online condolence, please visit lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice of Southern Maine (, 180 U.S. Route One, Scarborough, ME, 04074. Ann met many employees from this Hospice agency, who all were very kind, attentive and respectful of all her needs.